Mastercard Brings Biometrics To Credit Cards

Mastercard Brings Biometrics To Credit Cards
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Mastercard has announced their next generation credit card. With an integrated fingerprint reader, the new cards are being tested in South Africa with a leading supermarket and a couple of banks participating in the trial.

The new cards add biometric security to the existing EMV credit card platform supported by all “chip cards”. Incidentally, EMV is the standard Apple, Samsung and others built on to provide their own payment platforms.

The shift to using biometrics is a good thing and should lead to a reduction of credit card fraud. The current practice of getting the CCV along with the credit card number and expiry date is quite weak and magnetic strips can be skimmed with relative ease.

Ajay Bhalla, the president of enterprise risk and security at Mastercard said “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

The new cards work like any other chip card. All that changes is the user keeps a finger over the card’s fingerprint reader. Mastercard says merchants won’t have to change their card readers at the point of sale.

Testing in Europe and Asia Pacific is expected later this year.


  • Yay, another erosion of privacy being integrated as security.

    “…and in other news hackers have downloaded the customer data of MasterCard users.”

    Bang, baddies have your fingerprint info. They can unlock your door, your phone, your computer or implicate you in a scene. Far fetched? Not in this digital world.

    Guard your biological data ferociously.

    • Your fingerprint is stored onto a chip in the card, not on the mastercard servers. It looks like you don’t fully understand how biometrics work. Biometrics data stays locked to the device it’s on.

      On top of that, biometric data isn’t perfectly encoded. Even if you have two of the same device and use the same print, they will still have minor data variations between them. This would make data from one device useless in trying to break another device. It’s not like a password which is always the same.

      And the last thing you are implying is that somehow if someone gets your biometric data that they could use that to 100% accurately recreate your print somehow on a rubber finger. First, the data is encoded onto a secure chip and this chip only has an input/compare/delete function, there’s no way to get the data back out. Secondly, biometric data is very different to an actual thumbprint.

      Before you start banging the paranoia drum, you probably want to understand what you are talking about first.

      • Let’s agree to disagree. I don’t want to give up my biological info unless absolutely essential. There is no need to take a risk with information if you don’t have to. Yes. Be paranoid. Don’t be complacent about year on year privacy erosion.

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